By Jacklyn Sirias
POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki has urged non-members of the police union to become members in order to enjoy its benefits.
He told The National following the signing of an agreement by the union on Wednesday for the Government to increase police officers’ salaries by three per cent next year.
“As commissioner, I want every man and woman to be members of the police union simply because of the relationship that we have in having to go to the Government and talking to them about things like pay increases across the board for policemen and women.”
Baki added that most importantly it was unfair that the benefits of the agreement between the Government and union were not only be enjoyed by union members but by non-members as well.
“So those who have not become members of the union will benefit from the agreement that has been negotiated for those who are members of the union.
“I will be giving directions to deputy commissioner administration that every new recruit who comes from Bomana now, will have to be a member of the union,” Baki said.
“That will commence in 2018 so that you look at what is now in place and those that have not been union members must be members.
“I know it’s their constitutional right, but when you talk about benefits, the union is fighting for the benefits of every officer.
“Even though I have been appointed politically by the Government, I cannot speak on this so the union is the voice of the organisation that translates our arguments to the Government to see the terms and conditions of our officers being served.”
He said the current agreement signed was a continuation of the previous agreement which was signed in 2006.
“It is important that you emphasise strongly on the members of the union that it echoes our responsibility where we need to be more responsible of our actions,” he said.
“An increase in salary does not give you an automatic right to behave badly in the eyes of the public or in the way we do our work so this is the call and this is the challenge that we need to improve on.
“The challenge to change the perception of the public in the way police do their work is an important aspect of this agreement.
Nothing is worse than being paid good salaries and yet not performing to expectaations, Baki said.
“So we need to change that. We must change our behaviour, we must change the way we do things,” he said.
“We must be seen to be the role models of young people to know that a policeman is someone the community can look to when they need help.”
By Jacklyn Sirias